There will come a time on the sports journalism beat, I think, when you will have someone, an intern maybe, dedicating themselves solely to monitoring social media accounts of the players.
I’d be wise to set up something like that just to check out Floyd Mayweathers’ Twitter and Instragram accounts in the weeks leading up to his bouts. There’s always breaking news posted, be it TMZ level soap operatic stuff, or beefs with ex besties/rap moguls or more intriguing, arguably, items such as this one:
Did you see who was helping Mr. Mayweather get stretched for a late night run last night? None other than controversial strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
You’ll recall he has a history which makes his affiliation, however large or small, with Mayweather slightly compelling. Ariza was part of Team Pacquiao, before chafing with Coach Roach, and being jettisoned at Dedham Freddie’s request, for being too big for his britches. Along the way, Ariza ruffled some Big Bird sized feathers with his needling of Top Rank boss Bob Arum, whom he called a “greedy pig” in 2011, for supposedly holding up a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Manny remained loyal to Ariza, but Freddie finally had enough when tensions frayed to the busting point. Pacman said Roach fired Ariza a few months before the Congressman was to glove up against Brandon Rios in Macau last December.
That stew boiled over when Roach and Ariza got into a physical beef in Macau. Roach in January of this year said he was suspicious of the drinks Ariza used to feed Pacman–“He’s a little shady,” said Freddie–and Ariza had the scrutiny turned up on him after Rios tested positive for a banned in the US stimulant from his sample taken after fighting Pacman. In April Ariza said he was suing Roach for talking nasty about him.
Ariza and Team Robert Garcia, to whom the S n G expert jumped ship post Pacman, seemed thick as thieves, but scrutiny and controversy dogged Ariza. People speculated about some video taken from Marcos Maidana’s Dec. 2013 fight against Adrien Broner; did Ariza slip Maidana some sort of pill? Ariza denied that he was doing anything untoward, like slipping Maidana epinephrine, which can stop bleeding but also stimulates the heart and could give a stamina boost. Not guilty, Ariza told me.
Early Friday morning, Ariza posted a pic to Twitter, with the caption, “Night training with Floyd Mayweather.” Hmmm…Minor masterful by Mayweather, as suckers like me take the red meat bait. It leads us to wonder how deep the relationship is. Was this a two ships passing in the night thing? Has Ariza joined Team Mayweather? Would a fee, if there is one, include a debriefing on what went on in the Maidana camp?
SATURDAY UPDATE: I didn’t receive a callback from either Ariza or Robert Garcia, both of whom I requested comment.
Talk to me, readers. What say you?